What E-Verify Is
The US federal government has multiple branches spread out across the country, including those used by the immigration department, USCIS. To make verification of various purposes more streamlined, E-Verify was introduced.
This system is an internet-based program that the government uses to compare information across forms. Most commonly, the system will review the data on Form I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification) and compare that to anything on file for the person from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Social Security Administration (SSA).
E-Verify evaluates the data and sends a response back to the querier to confirm an individual’s work authorization in the US. Should the data not match, the person can’t work legally. Some employers must participate in E-Verify because of a contract or local law. However, it’s popular with many employers because it makes it easier for them to ensure they’re hiring people with valid visas.
Participation in E-Verify requires a few action steps on the part of the employer. They must post a poster provided by DHS stating they are participating in E-Verify, as well as the Right to Work poster issued by various departments and divisions at their location of hiring. These posters should be conspicuously displayed where job applicants can see them.
What Happens Next
Should a worker accept a job offer at an E-Verify company, which, effective July 1, 2023, includes any employer in Florida with 25 or more workers on the payroll, they complete Form I-9. That form is then entered into the E-Verify system. The employer is provided a result to the query within seconds.
Employers continue to abide by requirements during the length of the foreign worker’s employment. This includes:
● Annual certification of E-Verify participation when the employer files their first state tax service provider report
● Documenting and saving evidence of the E-Verify verification for three years or longer after hiring the foreign worker
● Participating voluntarily in random audits should complaints occur.
Florida’s E-Verify History
Although the legislation is new, Florida employers will recognize E-Verify. The system has been used since 2021 for anyone hired after its implementation.
The updated law encompasses previous requirements and adds more, including penalties for anyone not using E-Verify as instructed. These changes include:
● Automatic invalidation of any out-of-state driver’s license issued to an individual who is not in the US legally,
● Requirements for specific hospitals to collect the immigration status of patients and report this data quarterly to the government,
● Penalties include suspension of business license and fines for any employer caught hiring unauthorized workers.
What Employers Should Do Now
Whether you’re a Florida employer or watching from another state to see how these changes pan out, it’s a wise idea to be proactive with your E-Verify practices.
If you have (or may eventually have) 25 or more employees, or you bid on public contracts, pay attention to the new law. Start by updating the onboarding practices in place currently. With any new hire, register them with E-Verify. Train a reputable staff member on using this system.
Right now, filing a Form I-9 is not mandatory for most new hires. But using E-Verify is a quick and easy way to cover your bases and ensure you have evidence that you checked for work authorization through the Social Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.
Does your business need to go through E-Verify? How does this impact you specifically and your current foreign workers? If you hire H-1B visa beneficiaries, contact Visa2US today to see what you should do to verify your employment policies are up-to-date and your company is H-1B compliant.